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Agenda Item No.

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

CABINET: 27TH APRIL 2015

 

REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT): 24TH MARCH 2015

 

“ PUBLICATION OF REVISED WELSH GOVERNMENT TECHNICAL ADVICE NOTE (TAN) 1 JOINT HOUSING LAND AVAILABILITY STUDIES (2015) (REF) -

 

The purpose of the report was to advise Members of the publication of a Technical Advice Note.  Committee was informed that a copy of the new guidance had been placed in the Members Room for reference.  The background to the report advised that Joint Housing Land Availability Studies (JHLAS) was the principal mechanism for monitoring the supply of housing land through the planning system.  JHLAS demonstrated whether local planning authorities have a deliverable, five year supply of land for housing as required by Welsh Government Policy.  Failure to have a five year housing supply was an important material consideration which was taken into account by Planning Inspectorates when determining planning appeals for residential schemes.  The Council’s formal response to the consultation on the draft TAN 1 had been reported to Cabinet on 8th September, 2014 and the Planning Committee on 2nd October, 2014.  In that response, serious concerns had been raised regarding the proposals to change the manner in which housing land supply was calculated and that only authorities within an adopted LDP would be able to undertake a JHLAS calculation.  Following that consultation process, the Welsh Government had now issued an interim copy of revised TAN 1 guidance. 

 

It was noted, that previously local Planning Authorities without an up to date Adopted Development Plan were able to calculate housing land supply using a ten year average annual past build rate.  However, under a new TAN 1 guidance the use of the past build rates methodology which was based on the past performance of the building industry was not accepted and those LPAs without an up to date Development Plan were unable to demonstrate a housing land supply for determining planning applications. 

 

The Vale of Glamorgan’s UDP expired on 1st April, 2011 and officers were currently preparing for submission of the LDP to Welsh Government for independent examination by an appointed inspector which was timetabled to take place throughout August 2015.  Therefore, local planning authorities that did not have either an Adopted LDP or UDP would be unable to formally demonstrate its housing land supply position and would therefore effectively be considered not to have a five year housing land supply.  However, Members were also informed that the Council was required to undertake an annual objective assessment of its housing land supply in preparation of its LDP.

 

In this regard officers were of the view that the requirement to keep under review the housing land supply retained the ability for the housing land supply to be a material consideration in the determination of planning applications, particularly given the emphasis on evidencing a five year supply on adoption of its LDP.  However, Welsh Government had advised that since the assessment would not be subject to the normal JHLAS process it would not carry the same weight for planning purposes as a formal study.  Nevertheless, officers would need to assess how planning proposals would contribute to both supporting delivery of the emerging LDP and the provision of a five year housing land supply on its adoption, and these were themselves considered to be important material considerations.

 

In this respect, Planning Policy Wales (section 2.6) remarked on what happens in instances where the local development plan is not yet adopted.  Paragraph 2.6.2 of PPW advised that in development management decisions the weight to be attached to an emerging draft LDP would in general depend on the stage it had reached.  In considering what weight to give to specific policies in an emerging LDP that applied to a particular proposal, local planning authorities would need to consider carefully the underlying evidence and background to the policies.  National planning policy could also be a material consideration in these circumstances (see section 4.2 of PPW).

 

Therefore, the determination of planning applications for residential development in advance of the LDP Examination would need to fully consider all other material considerations, such as the LDP background evidence and the wider environmental, social and economic benefits of the scheme (such as meeting local housing needs and the provision of local infrastructure).

 

Given that the Council was faced with a less than five year housing land supply, and its inability to formally participate in the JHLAS process, it was inevitable that until the Council had formally adopted its LDP, the Vale of Glamorgan would be at risk of speculative development applications as was the case during 2012/13 when the Council’s JHLAS had a less than five year housing land supply.  This concern was clearly raised by the Council in its formal submission to the Welsh Government draft TAN1 consultation in the autumn 2014, as referenced via the following link:

http://www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/en/our_council/council/minutes,_agendas_and_reports/reports/cabinet/2014/14-09-08/Welsh-Government-Consultation-Draft-Technical-Advice-Note-.aspx

|.  Of note was the fact that similar concerns had also been raised by the Welsh Local Government Association during the consultation period (Appendix 1) and the Royal Town Planning Institute (Appendix 2).

 

Committee was further informed that both the Leader and the Cabinet Member had sent a letter setting out the concerns of the Vale which was read out at the meeting for the Committee’s consideration.  The guidance had raised concern for officers within the Vale and although officers would continue to fight unacceptable developments the guidance placed the Council in a difficult position.  The Cabinet Member reiterated that the work that had to date been undertaken in relation to the LDP could very well be undone as a direct consequence of the TAN advice and she awaited the Minister’s comments.

 

Following a query as to whether other local authorities would be in a similar position to the Vale, the Operational Manager advised that a number of authorities would definitely be in a similar situation.  It was therefore suggested that a collective group of local authorities should consider taking the TAN guidance to judicial review.  In acknowledging that the letter sent on behalf of the Council was an excellent response to the Welsh Government guidance it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T Cabinet be requested to consider undertaking discussions with other local authorities with a view to conducting a judicial review in respect of the TAN 1 guidance. 

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In view of the difficult position the TAN 1 guidance has placed on local authorities in Wales."